The Most Wonderful time of the Year.

Merry Christmas everyone, Let the festivities begin!

Most people who know me know that I am one of those really annoying Christmas enthusiasts. I love it and nothing offends me more than the words ‘we’re not going all out for Christmas this year, just a quiet one’. Why would anybody ever do that to themselves?
It’s perfect: the time of year when chocolate for breakfast, day time drinking and eating till you need to lie down are just the polite things to do.
I’m guilty of taking It quite seriously, I begin mentally menu planning in September, begin stocking up for the Christmas treat table in October, recipe rehearsals in November, usually have shopping done by the start of December and I once spent 4 hours in Middlesbrough town centre in a dilemma over which was the best wrapping, ribbon and tag combination. And don’t even get me started on how many times I’ve listened to Micheal Buble’s Christmas album.
(This years wrapping paper is from Tesco, with personalised ceramic tags from Luna Moon Creations on Etsy.)
It’s my thing. It’s genuinely maybe my main talent.
This time last year I was coming to the end of 2 months travelling in Australia and New Zealand so I missed the whole Christmas build up. We had a late Christmas Day when I got back, just before New Year, which was lovely, but I do feel I have to compensate a little this year for missing last. And, with breaking up from school super early on the 15th, there are 9 full days of pre-christmas festive activities. And by pre-christmas festive activities, I mainly mean watching every crappy Hallmark Christmas film and baking mince pies.
I’ve come up with a list of Christmas pointers and necessities! It’s based on a list I first wrote in 2014 for the blog I kept while living in Italy. I’ve updated it and added to it for this post, but most of it still -and always will -stand true:
1. When Christmas shopping, don’t follow people’s ‘lists’. Never. It’s not about what they want to have, it’s about what you want them to have. I know my Dad hates novelty socks, but I love to see my Dad in novelty socks, so he’ll just have to act grateful and wear them when he’s with me. And that’s what Christmas is all about.
2. You should probably emphasise that it’s very important that other people do actually follow your ‘list’ although they can deviate from the list if they think of something better, more personal and more expensive. They’re the rules of lists.
3. Buy everything in Christmas packaging. I’m a sales man’s dream in December. Do I need Cornflakes?Do I regularly eat cornflakes? No. But am I going to buy a giant box with Santa on it? Yes, of course I bloody am.
4. Do the Christmas food shop in Marks and Spencer’s at 4 a.m. This is completely pointless as it’s just as busy as it is during the day. But still it’s fun and festive and you pick out something nice for your  breakfast when you get in.
5. Buy posh crisps in obscure flavours. You’ll find them in April and be really confused as to why you thought they were a good idea, but still, you’ll eat them one night when you’re peckish.
6. Take a day, or in my case 9,  before Christmas to literally just watch Christmas films and all the greatest Christmas specials.
7. Take a day after Christmas just to simply enjoy and immerse yourself in all of your presents. This day was a lot more fun when I didn’t just get shower gel and underwear,but it’s still always a lovely day.
8. Present displays. No grandparents or aunties or cousins ask to see my presents anymore, but I still like to make a little display in my room.
9. ‘He’s been’ have absolutely got to be your first words on Christmas morning.
10. As of 1st December (or maybe a week or so before), make everything Christmas themed. Socks, towels, toilet roll, bedding, hand wash, washing up liquid, bleach. Everything.
(Our pretty festive flat! Pretty mistletoe heart is from Rose and Ena, find them on Instagram!)
11. Supermarket tour. Go to every supermarket as you never know what they’ll have that’s a bit different. And buy all flavoured fresh creams you can find. Yup yup. That’s an important one. You probably won’t get round to trying them all but it’s comforting to know you can if you want. Also track down the shop with the best offer on Terry’s Chocolate Oranges; this year Tesco did buy 1 get 2 free -an absolute steal!
12. My Mam suggested the tip of don’t buy crackers because they are completely pointless. But my tip would be this: if your Mam says this, buy her crackers as a Christmas present. They are not pointless; they’re fun and festive.
13. Have family nights after Christmas where you watch each others new DVD’s. It’s this tradition that enlightened my Mam about the delight of Gatsby and made us realise my Dad is just too Boro Bloke to understand Les Mis.
(This was one from my original post from 2014 which I loved and didn’t want to take out but now I’m wondering if getting DVD’s is still a thing?! 2014 was a simpler time…)
14. Do not, do not, ever, let your brother win the argument of ‘we’re in our twenties now and we’re too old for hanging- up -stocking photos’. He’s wrong. Never too old. Also force your other half to have a photo with you too. It’s unlikely the photos will ever be shared ‘cos they’re never flattering as you’ll be make-up free and in your jarmies but it’s still quite important to have them.
15. Shop Small wherever you can. Attend local Christmas markets and craft fayres. Browse on Etsy, Not on the Highstreet and on Instagram. There are some beautiful prezzies, food and decorations out there and it’s so important to put money into small businesses. I’ll do a post on my favourite small shops sometime soon!
16. To feel super Christmassy and have a really lovely time go to a Christmas market. I think all cities now have one?! Get tipsy on mulled wine, pose in your cosy winter attire and eat a giant sausage. This year we had a girls’ weekend in Bath for the markets (more details at the end of this post!).
17. Christmas clothes and pyjamas are an absolute must. Update your whole wardrobe and underwear drawer to include festive pieces. Christmas jumpers, pyjamas and novelty socks are the most important I think! And in a world where there’s Primark, it isn’t very expensive to do!
18. It’s the only time of year when anybody in the UK buys a Radio Times. But it really wouldn’t be Christmas without it- it’s part of the family at Christmas time. And it’s so lovely to spend time reading through it choosing all the things you fancy sleeping through on cosy Christmas evenings and then rewatching the next day with a brew.
19. Boil a ham. It’s not Christmas till you’ve boiled a ham. Then live off it for days. It’s nice to boil it in cola, but then you can’t use the stock for soup, so, you decide.
20. Go all out on Christmas fragrances, everywhere. All the time. No non -cinnamon air until the middle January (See my previous blog post for some inspiration!).
As I mentioned a little bit earlier, at the start of the month, I went on a festive girls’ weekend to Bath! It was a perfect little weekend break! We went to the spa, ate and drank a lot and browsed the beautiful Christmas markets. With the cathedral as their back drop, they really did look beautiful and it was lovely to walk around sipping mulled wine. It’s such a beautiful city,I would 100% recommend it for a Christmassy mini break, but check the market dates as they finish Mid-December and be ready for crowds if you’re heading there on a weekend!
Speak again in the new year!
Bring on 2018!

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